Cut me up magazine. Publishing art to be teared apart. As poetic as beautiful.
We interviewed Andrea Burgay, the artist and editor behind this awesome magazine / project that involves buying something to be destroyed. Much more than an anti-consumption statement, this is a brillant idea.
– Can you tell us about Cut Me Up magazine?
Cut Me Up is a visual call-and-response
collage magazine. Each issue is created from artworks made by cutting up and responding
to the previous issue/artists’ collages. Cut Me Up is both an
ongoing interactive project and a document of contemporary collage and
The first issue of Cut Me Up, First Call, featured nineteen collage works that I’d made for the
project from 2016-2018. I wanted other artists to look at these works and respond
to them, using them as the starting point for something new. I was curious to see
how these initial works would be interpreted and how other artists could
visually express their responses.
The second issue of Cut Me Up (released
on January 1, 2019) is a curated selection of the response artworks we received.
They showcase the wide range of approaches to collage that can come from a
singular source and begin an ongoing visual dialogue between artists.
– Which conceptual / ideological issues led you
to the circular idea of publishing collages that will be destroyed to make
new collages for the magazines next issue?
In my own work, I’ve
been interested in deconstructing physical materials that hold personal
relevance in order to understand them and harness the associated psychological connotations
to create something new. I like the idea of excavating
materials from the past and deconstructing precious things, as opposed to
preserving and collecting.
In the book Art as Therapy, by Alain de Botton, I
related to his idea that the relationship that we have with the reproduction of
a work of art may be deeper or more valuable to us because we can bring our own
reactions to it. “It feels safe and acceptable to pin it on a wall, thrown it
away or scribble on it, and by being able to behave so casually around it, our
responses come alive.”
I think the idea of cutting up something precious is liberating and will create deeper relationships with the published artworks then if it was a book meant simply to be viewed.
– What is the process of curating each issue?
I could only wonder
what kind of response we would get to Issue 1. I’d been working on the idea of Cut Me Up for several years and just
getting it out into the world was very exciting. I was amazed when responses
started to pour in. We received 125 collage works from 48 artists, with several
artists submitting entire portfolios of work made from Issue 1.
John Whitlock and I co-curated the second issue of Cut Me Up, titled Inside-Out. Aside from being a great artist himself, John has been
an early and great supporter of Cut Me Up,
and the magazine is published through his label Specious Art.
For Issue 2, we were seeking responses that spoke in some
way to the work from Issue 1, responding to color palettes, textures,
compositions or concepts. As co-curators, John and I both made a shortlist of
works that fit our criteria. Then we narrowed that down to final selections
that would address a broad range of concepts and approaches, while still working
together as a group.
One of the
published pieces, turn of the century,
by Tres Roemer, focuses on color, using mostly negative spaces and moving away
from the density of the original works. Clive Knights, initiated explorations of depth through superimposition and
shadow. Cless kept the original composition from the work he used as source
material, adding and removing surrounding elements. Tara Pellegrino’s piece has
a layered, detailed approach, similar to the works in Issue 1, but made
through a process of image transfer. We asked the artists to describe their
experiences working with Cut Me Up, so
they could be published alongside their work and give readers further insight
into their process.
I love all of the
works we chose, but there were so many more beautiful pieces that didn’t make
cut for the print edition. The Cut Me Up
website will feature a gallery of all the response artworks.
– Why you chose to have a guest curator in each issue?
Future issues will
have guest curators, each with their own call. Each curator will ask artists to
consider specific techniques or concepts in their response artworks,
essentially creating an exhibition within each issue.
Just as each issue
of Cut Me Up is made of response
artworks, guest curators are asked to write their curatorial calls by
responding to the artworks published in the previous issue, assessing what
possibilities lie therein for a new direction.
curators brings new vantagepoints and sets of criteria, keeping the magazine
fresh, with the potential for submitting artists to have their works
continually seen by different eyes.
Our guest curator
for Issue 3 is collage artist and Director of the Thompson Gallery at
The Cambridge School of Weston, Todd Bartel. Todd’s writings on collage and its history are
extensive and illuminating and he has curated many wonderful collage
exhibitions, including Strange
Glue—Collage at 100. His call for Issue 3, “Erasure Leads to
Blankness—a Tabula Rasa,” asks for submitting artists to consider the environmental
implications of reusing paper through collage, considering blankness and
– I feel that, seeing all the
submissions, might give you a very interesting insight on a key issue
related with making art with collage: the relationship between source material
and the artists identity. If all the submissions are made from the same source
material (the previous issue of CMU), do you find a wide stylistic range of
submissions? or having the same source material makes all the artists
identities kind of melt down into a more neutral identity? In your opinion,
does the source material defines that much the way an artist’s creates his/her
work in collage?
choose source material that they connect to, that inspires them, and this
becomes an integral part of their work. Source material becomes a palette,
conveying a link to the past, contemporary awareness or a sense of humor. I
think that it is the transformation of source material that transcends and
Within the Cut Me Up responses, there were a wide
array of different styles within the submissions. Many artists incorporated
other media—drawing, painting, even sculpture.
I think a key
element that led to this diversity of approaches was the abstract nature of the
works in Issue 1. My works use color combinations, the texture of torn and
folded edges and densely layered details to allude to the passage of time,
deterioration, and spiritual themes of growth, rebirth and ritual. There are a
few small representational elements throughout—a cat face on the cover, a
clay-faced character, and a sun/moon form—and these realistic elements were
well-represented in the responses. But I think the lack of definite imagery
that could be related to in a common way led to artists taking the source
material in very different directions.
– When finishing each issue: How do you feel? What happens
I am thrilled with
the completion of each issue! l grew up reading books, looking at art in books
and learning about the world through books. There is something about having
things enclosed and catalogued on pages and the intimate experience of reading
that I have always enjoyed. When completing each issue of the magazine, the
collages feel organized, safe, enclosed, and always accessible.
Finishing the second
issue was very exciting. I was humbled by the artworks we received and very
proud to have the opportunity to publish the works of artists who I admire.
– Which is the future of Cut Me Up? What do you expect from upcoming issues?
We sold out of
Issue 2 more quickly than I expected, so we just completed a second edition
which is now available! And the deadline for submissions for Issue 3 is approaching on
April 1, so I am looking forward to seeing the work that comes in.
I’ve also placed Cut Me Up in several bookstores, Quimby’s
and Powell’s in the U.S., and I’m working on placement with a bookstore in Spain.
I hope to reach as wide an audience as possible, and I have always loved the
discovery of coming across an exciting book while browsing. If you know a venue
that would like to sell Cut Me Up,
please reach out!
I’m also planning an exhibition of the original works published in the magazine, so that viewers can see them up close and personal.